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September 11, 2008


Bush 2.0? Way to adopt the Obama campaign's transparent attempt to tie McCain to an unpopular President, Brendan. Wouldn't it have been enough simply to criticize the McCain campaign's tactics without using Obama's "Bush-McCain" spin? But far be it from me to prevent you from showing respect and deference to Senator Obama. And enjoy your stay In The Tank.

Brendan complains that the governor's jet plane actually did not sell on eBay and was later sold at a loss. That's carping. The important point is: She got rid of the governor's jet. By willingly giving up the convenience and prestige of flying on her own plane, she saved her taxpayers a mint. Maintaining a jet plane, including fuel, pilots, service, etc., is enormously expensive.

This point hit me because several years ago a new CEO of my company came in promising various economies, including getting rid of the corporate jets. However, after he was installed in office, he changed his mind and kept both of them.

Several things Brendan.

First, the link you provide in "McCain's campaign is relying on Obama's vote " mentions nothing about this issue. Perhaps you meant to point to a different story.

Second, I don’t understand what is so radical about the saying the media doesn't "represent the public any more than other people do.... I don't believe [the press has] a check-and-balance function." This statement appears obviously true to me since "the media" are just another industry/interest group. Sometimes they might perform a watchdog role, but so do other interest groups. The media just had a more efficient mode of disseminating information (at least until recently with the advent of the web). If any campaign doesn’t want to work with them for whatever reason, they have that right, even though they face the risk of it backfiring against them.

Third, I notice you drop the word “respect” and concentrated on the definition of “deference”. Despite your reputation for decrying spin, this seems awfully convenient to imply the McCain campaign feels they should be “deferred to” as some sort of superior when another meaning of the term “respect and deference”, which seems obvious given the media trashing of Palin’s family and life prior to her convention speech, is simply “respect”.

As for “McCain's campaign is following Bush's lead in making a series of highly misleading claims that are often based on some slender reed of truth”, I’ll disregard for the moment whether the “eBay” example is really misleading and simply note this behavior has been true for all politicians and every campaign I’ve ever seen witnessed (including Obama’s). Politicians always present the slice of truth that paints them in the best light and then hope no-one looks at the other side of the coin. Unfortunately, you appear to call Republicans more frequently on these types of infractions than you do Democrats, while it appears to me both sides behave similarly.

I look forward to your thoughts on what you call in another post “bogus” lipstick controversy.

RE: MartyB above -- I put in the wrong link of the two Washington Post links in the previous paragraph. It's now fixed above; thanks for letting me know it was wrong.

The scare quotes around "objective" would seem to imply that Brendan thinks Todd and Halperin tilt to the right. But, his next comment seems to imply that their lack of objectivity consists of tilting left, but not far enough left.

I actually agree with Brendan that the the lipstick controversy is silly. But, I wish Brendan had been equally forthright in pointing out the silliness of the "Barney Fag" controversy a few years ago. Tbe Dems are reaping what they sowed.

Second, I don’t understand what is so radical about the saying the media doesn't "represent the public any more than other people do.... I don't believe [the press has] a check-and-balance function."

The radical idea was that the McCain campaign had decided the media was biased and didn't see any need to find other means to demonstrate Sarah Palin's qualifications for the Vice Presidency. She wasn't going to town hall meetings and taking questions from people directly. She wasn't putting out reams of papers stating her position on the war, the economy, civil liberties or more importantly, just what she'd change if she was in office.

Palin's qualifications are in question because nobody really knows what she stands for or how capable she is at governing. There are a lot of ways she could communicate with the voters. But she has to at least pick one.

I'm not entirely certain why Marshall and Nyhan are taking special pains to categorize the Bush/McCain campaign as sleazy and dishonest (however correct that may be) while giving the Obama campaign a relative free pass. This omission is particularly strange since Nyhan usually takes special care to note when both sides of the political aisle are engaging in the same dishonest behavior (see his recent post "Campaign Smear"). Has Nyhan forgotten his own recent criticisms of the smears of the Obama campaign, such as McCain supposedly advocating "100 years of war in Iraq"?

Should we assume, then, that the Obama campaign is running, comparatively speaking, a predominantly clean and honest campaign? If he is, then he really is a new kind of politician.

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